Call me Mudcat!

Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — the ‘Mudcat’ moniker was bestowed as cockpit call sign to celebrate a rather tempestuous relationship with rules and regulations that ended up torpedoing a promising Tail Hook career due to an incident that became notorious throughout Southeast Asia involving bourbon, an aircraft carrier, a French Diplomat, a “borrowed” A-6 Intruder, a reel of 8mm movie film and jail bait, after which began a long, cold stint as a bush pilot, flying Budweiser, chewing gum, tetanus vaccines and cherry Danish to far flung construction camps along the site of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. With a trusty Guild D-35 as his copilot, Mudcat developed his signature style of arctic acoustic picking between sorties glacier sliding and caribou scattering.

When the oil started flowing down to Valdez, Mudcat migrated south to the Keys to divide his time between a Stratocaster and a Grumman Goose, club rocking and island hopping until a disagreement with a South American business associate over a flight manifest and a cargo inventory audit drove him undercover to play pedal steel on the Country-Western circuit through Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. When some of the caballeros started looking a bit too sinister, he split and hooked up with Sonny “Bug Splat” Williams in Kansas City to tickle the ivories with his Bleu Chunx Band as they gigged through St. Louis, Chicago, Memphis and Louisville. Bug Splat’s manslaughter conviction left Mudcat playing airport Holiday Inn lounges for his supper, until he was rescued by Lightnin’ Norton and formed the pioneering Funk Bucket, which toured successfully until Mudcat did a low level strafing run on the wrong daughter of the wrong man in New Orleans.

From the bayou of Louisiana, Mudcat somehow ended up back dodging the misty jungle peaks of Southeast Asia again, where, as an Air America pilot, he flew hard rice into Laos and Cambodia, until the day his Cessna was shot down near the Plain of Jars. He was never seen by the Company again, but it was later learned that he had walked away from the wreckage and found his way to the Colorado Rockies where he lived peacefully until his cabin outside Gunnison became the scene of a bloody shoot out with what were either shadowy government officials or Jehovah Witness missionaries and the Mudcat was on the move again.

Figuring that no one would think to look for him in Ohio, he settled down to moderately successful careers as a circulation technician for his hometown newspaper and a parttime flight instructor, but the musical muse could not be denied and Project Mojo was born as a laboratory for the mad experiments and monstrous creations that yearned to be given life by Mudcat and his musical buddies.